The 7 Temptations of Behavioral Scientists & Consultants

As the field is getting more mature and the community is growing, we have seen some behaviors damaging the reputation of behavioral science. Even the best can give into temptations. What other battles between vice and virtue have you witnessed?

Pride: Pontificating on the power of behavioural science, and being perceived as condescending when labelling “nudgees” as irrational, lazy, biased, or herdy… as if we were above or immune to it.

Gluttony: Inventing a new quirky bias to explain retrospectively whatever behaviour, up to faking data to make a catchy story, instead of acknowledging the limits of our understanding

Greed: Claiming concepts paternity, defending siloed knowledge (neuro, socio, ethno, experimental, evolutionary…), instead of building new bridges to address the complexity of human behaviour

Sloth: Commenting on the world from the office and the books, instead of challenging assumptions in the field and listening to the wisdom -not just the biases- of people doing things that work there.

Lust: Seeking prestige, and privilege of influencing political power whatever the topic, instead of staying humble and and collaborating with other stakeholders.

Wrath:  Blaming some for not doing real science, or others for ignoring how things work in business, instead of acknowledging that these two worlds have different purpose but can cross-fertilize.

Envy: focusing on peers, and looking for fame in a small community, instead of getting the outside world to know more about the great things BeSci can do!




Richard Bordenave

BVA Nudge Unit

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